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Geronimo Cave Day Hike
Superstition Mountains
December 31, 2008
by Ted Tenny
  GPS Map 
group
Made it to Fremont Saddle. Which way do we go now?
cave
Geronimo Cave beckons from the Peralta Trail.
hoodoos
The Superstition Mountain hoodoos are fingers of volcanic rock.

New Year’s eve was ideal for hiking – mild temperatures and not a cloud in the sky. Recent rains had settled the dust.

We set out from Peralta Trailhead in two groups: those who planned to walk down on the easy Peralta Trail, and the adventurers whose hearts were set on hiking the Cave Trail to Geronimo Cave on the way back.

The groups quickly spread out on the climb up to Fremont Saddle. Although the Peralta Trail is a steady climb, there are boulders to get around and five stream crossings.

Slow hikers with cameras are treated to several arches, gorgeous views of Geronimo Cave and Calico Rock, and the ever-present hoodoos and oddly-sculpted volcanic rock formations.

Fremont Saddle is just around the bend, but you don’t notice it until you hear people talking and top out with an expansive view of East Boulder Canyon and then Weaver’s Needle.

grumpy
This arch has the face of a dinosaur.
We get everyone assembled for a group picture, then head northeast for the closest Weaver’s Needle overlook. The group spreads out, with some hikers walking to the very precipice and others content with a more distant view.

Those who plan to return on the Peralta Trail leave first.

Ted consolidates the remaining hikers to make sure everyone is together as we turn south to begin our Cave Trail descent. This is no place to lose people!

hikers
Trailblazers troop the trail to the Weaver’s Needle overlook.

The top of the Cave Trail is easy. But soon we begin a mile of slickrock, precipitous slopes and uncertain trail markings.

overlook overlook
There are many perilous and spectacular overlooks. [photos by Eileen]

“Geronimo never slept here,” Ted reminds us as we approach the shallow cave. South of the cave we try to consolidate again, without much success, to find our way down the perilous Devil’s slide.

There are a few cairns, but they don’t mark a consistent route down. Eventually everyone gets to the base of the slickrock.

Where do we go now?

We take the lower but better-marked route across the valley by Chimney Rock, then look for more cairns to thread our way around the boulders.

The Peralta Trail is visible in the canyon far below us. There are always people on the trail, but no sign of the hikers who were with us at the overlook. No luck talking to them on the radio, so we figure they are all gone by now.

bowl
These markings by Geronimo Cave are purely natural, I assure you.
steep
The Devil’s Slide gets mighty steep. [photo by Eileen]
hikers
Eileen shoots from above the leaning boulder.
hikers
... as Ted shoots from below.
hikers
Let’s breathe a while before we start down Cardiac Hill.

Cardiac Hill is our last challenge, a steep descent. “Your heart will appreciate it, but your knees won’t.”

When we finally reach the Bluff Spring Trail, Ted sends everyone ahead at their own pace. The Cave Trail adventurers re-convene at Peralta Trailhead.

Happy New Year to all!

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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated November 15, 2018